Feedback: Try Something ...


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This section provides some suggestions for simple things you could try if you would like to make small changes to the way you feedback


Using audio feedback

Why use audio feedback?

Audio feedback may be a better alternative than written feedback in the following circumstances:

  • You are as or more comfortable with speaking than with writing: this may particularly be true if you are used to giving oral feedback in practical situations in the workplace.
  • You write or type slowly.
  • You tend to give a substantial amount of feedback.

Audio feedback production should be just as convenient as written feedback to produce. You don't need a computer to record or listen back. You do need a recording device ('digital voice recorder'), which you can usually borrow from your campus IT services team, or most smartphones are able to record audio. If you prefer to record onto a computer, you can use the free software Audacity which may already be installed on your work computer, or you can ask IT services to install it for you. You can return the feedback to students using Moodle.

Before you start

  • Check with the people moderating the marking for this unit that they are able to listen to audio feedback
  • Tell your students in advance that you are going to use this form of feedback and explain why you think it is a good idea.
  • Create a folder/directory on your computer for each individual assignment in a unit to receive the recordings.
  • Set up an assignment in Moodle to return the feedback - see a detailed training guide
  • Be prepared to provide technical support for students who are unable to view and/or listen to their feedback. If you cannot do this yourself make sure that IT services are able to do this and know what you are setting up.

Recording the feedback

  • Find a quiet work space where you will not be disturbed.
  • Turn off your mobile phone to avoid it ringing during recording.
  • Have a standard introduction, eg: "This is audio feedback for the first group presentation assignment for the <unit title> unit, number <unit number>. This feedback is for <group number/student number/student name as appropriate> and is being provided by <your name>. If you are not the intended recipient please stop listening now and notify the unit leader, <unit leader's name>, of the error". Print out a copy of this basic script and use this as a reminder.
  • Use a combined microphone and earphones headset to keep hands free if possible.
  • Annotate the students work with brief text comments and use audio for detail*.
  • Aim for 'one take' recordings that you aren't going to edit. Pause recording while you're thinking. Marking rubrics are useful here, as in all marking, and will give structure to your recording as well as provide some stock phrases to reduce the amount of 'ums' and 'ers'. However, don't worry too much about tripping over your words - just apologise, correct your mistake and keep going.
  • Refer to page numbers and paragraphs when you want to illustrate a particular point, or timings for a video or live presentation.
  • Keep your feedback to less than 6 minutes to keep students engaged and file sizes small enough.
  • Consider a standard conclusion such as "If you have any queries about this feedback, please contact <your name> using the details in the unit handbook".
  • Don't add the mark to the feedback unless it has been moderated already.
  • When you've finished each person's feedback, stop recording so that each is saved as an individual file.
  • If you use a digital voice recorder, the filenames will be created automatically. To save yourself time later, keep a list of the names/IDs of the students or groups for which you record feedback, in strict order. If you jot down the time as well you will have a double check on file details without having to listen to all of the files again. If you record directly to the computer (using Audacity or similar software), save the file using a standard naming format which includes student ID/name and assignment title/code eg acting1_1_11554433.mp3 would be the feedback for student 11554433 to the first element of assessment on the Acting 1 unit. (acting1_1_bloggsj.mp3 if you are using names not IDs).


Returning feedback to students

We strongly recommend doing this via the Moodle tools.

  • If you haven't recorded directly to the computer, copy the files over using the instructions for the digital voice recorder. Rename each file using a standard naming format which includes student Id/name and assignment title/code: eg acting1_1_11554433.mp3 would be the feedback for student 11554433 to the first element of assessment on the Acting 1 unit.  (acting1_1_bloggsj.mp3 if you are using names not IDs).
  • See a detailed training guide.
  • In Moodle, go to the assignment, choose the individual student and click on 'grade'.

screenshot of uploading audio to moodle

  • A new window will open (see above). Click on 'choose file' and browse for the correct file on your computer, then click on 'upload this file'. You may want to paste some standard text into the white comments box about the feedback.
  • finally, click 'save changes', or 'save and show next' if you are going to upload for the next student immediately.

More help on Moodle is available from your Faculty E-Learning Support Officer

Useful Links:

Rod Cullen and Rachel Forsyth